Yorkiepoo Princess relishes Aqueduct's Autumn Days on main track

NYRA Press Office
November 24, 2018 07:23pm
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Photo: Courtesy of the NYRA
Danny J. Chen's Yorkiepoo Princess dueled Jean Elizabeth for the early lead before kicking away in the stretch for a 5 3/4-length win in the $125,000 Autumn Days for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up on Sunday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The last of three stakes on the nine-race card, the second running of the Autumn Days, originally scheduled to be run at six furlongs on the outer turf, maintained the same distance in being moved to the main track labeled good.

A main-track only entrant, Yorkiepoo Princess broke sharp with jockey Dylan Davis from post 7, tracking Jean Elizabeth with the opening quarter-mile going in 22.86 seconds and the half in 46.23.
At the quarter-pole, Davis asked Yorkiepoo Princess for more, and the 4-year-old Kantharos filly responded by commanding the lead and then opening up a wide advantage, hitting the wire in 1:11.41.

"I just wanted to get her a nice clean break. I got her out there and she really wanted to take command early, but I just sort of kept her together a little bit, and she wanted to take command at the three-eighths pole," Davis said. "I kind of just let her do her thing, and she just went on from there. She was pretty sharp today."

Off at 6-1, the Edward Barker trainee paid $14.60 on a $2 win bet. The Florida bred notched her second straight win and successfully made the step up in class, running in her first stakes since a third-place effort in the Roamin Rachael on September 15 at Parx. She has four wins in five career starts at the Big A, improving her career earnings to $435,627.

"The Princess loves Aqueduct. She's back, she ran big," Barker said. "What a giant race for her today. I was praying it was going to come off the grass today and she really showed her ability.

"She's been touting herself since her last race and it really gave her a lot of confidence. I'm really proud of her," he added. "This puts her almost close to $400,000 in earnings, which isn't bad for a horse they paid $10,000 for. She loves Aqueduct and she loves the winter time, so we'll look forward to running her again here in the future."

The ultra-consistent Jean Elizabeth, trained by Larry Rivelli, finished 1 ½ lengths ahead of Fear No Evil for second. She has never finished off the board in 11 career starts, posting a record of 6-3-2.

Friend of Liberty, Bloody Point, Jc's Shooting Star, Lezendary and Sounds Delicious completed the order of finish.

Always Thinking, Fire Key, Misericordia, Epping Forest, Tap Tap Taparoo, Broadway Run and Compelled were scratched.

In Race 4, Barry K. Schwartz's La Fuerza kicked off the stakes action by winning the $100,000 Notebook for New York-bred juveniles.

La Fuerza, cutting back in distance in making his first start since finishing tenth in the Sleepy Hollow on October 20 at Belmont Park, broke alertly from post 4 at odds of 4-1 under Hall of Famer John Velazquez. La Fuerza was in third position early, stalking Kosciuszko and Analyzethisandthat through fractions of 22.92 seconds for the opening quarter-mile with the half in 47.13.

At the quarter-pole, La Fuerza launched his bid, overtaking Kosciuszko and Anayzethisandthat in midstretch. Set down under a full drive, he hit the wire 2 ¾ lengths in front, completing the six-furlong distance in 1:12.98.

"He broke good and got a nice position," said Velazquez. "It was the complete opposite of the first time I rode him [August 24 at Saratoga Race Course]. That time, he didn't want to go anywhere. Today, he broke really good, and that was it, just keep him going forward."

Picking up his fourth victory and third stakes win this year, the son of Flatter returned $10.60 for a $2 win wager. He increased his career earnings to $249,010.

"He seemed on his game today," said winning trainer Todd Pletcher. "He left the gate with good intentions and put himself into a good spot. Last time, I think we kind of misread the race [Sleepy Hollow] when he broke. We thought there was a lot of pace and tried to ease him back off, and I think that was a mistake. He's a horse that time has shown has some real quality. He's just been a little inconsistent. Hopefully, he's starting to put it all together."

Having made each of his seven career starts in New York-bred races, Pletcher said he would look to keep La Fuerza in New York this winter against state-bred competition.

"We'll keep him here for the winter," said Pletcher. "There's a decent series of New York-bred stakes. We'll run him with New York-breds whenever we have the opportunity."

Following Analyzethisandthat in second was Kosciuszko, Thorny Tale, Bustin Hoffman and Bustin to Be Loved.

In Race 7, Mathis Stable's South of France, confidently handled by Velazquez, proved to be much the best with an emphatic score in the inaugural running the $100,000 Tepin for juvenile fillies.

Originally scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf, the main-track only entrant South of France was sent to post as the 4-5 mutuel favorite in a field reduced to five starters and contested at a mile on the Aqueduct main.

The Quality Road bay, trained by Pletcher, made her stakes debut a winning one with a perfect trip tracking the speed of Hollywood Glory who made the lead following a start that saw expected pacesetter Guacamole stumble and No More Fast Women, under Jose Lezcano, break sharply inward before dismounting the rider.

Velazquez kept South of France in the center of the track down the backstretch, allowing Hollywood Glory to set the opening quarter in a moderate 25.39 seconds and a half-mile in 50.07. Velazquez took command of the race, urging South of France into contention at the turn to lead through three-quarters in 1:15.37 and held the field well at bay for a five-length win in 1:41.17. Hollywood Glory completed the exacta 11 3/4 lengths in front of Slieve Mish, with Guacamole in fourth.

"We felt like she's a filly that was improving," said Pletcher. "This turned out to be a good spot when it came off the grass. I like the way she's progressing, and she seems to be handling the stretch out in distance pretty well. The race was dramatically altered at the start. We felt Guacamole would be on the lead and when she stumbled badly it changed the dynamics. Those are always worrisome situations when you have a loose horse in there, but thankfully everyone made it home safely."

Velazquez picked up his 5,999th career victory in North America with the heady ride.

"I inherited the lead pretty easily with those two other horses tumbling, so from then on, I just kind of waited, then let her run," said Velazquez. "We were going so slow that I went to the middle of the track to make sure whoever wanted to go inside, I let in there. I kind of let her out by the three-eighths pole and it was pretty easy from there. I like those kinds of easy races."

Bred in Kentucky by Notch Hill Farm and W.S. Farish, South of France banked $55,000 in victory, improving her career record to 3-2-1 from seven starts. She paid $3.60 to win.

Early Time, Fierce Scarlett, Flying the Colors, Suba Lou, Sweet Timing, On the Town, Love and Love, Stormy D and Aunt Hattie were scratched.


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